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Full text of "Navy and Marine Corps Medical News December 2009"

NAVY MEDICINE 

World Class Care., . Anytime, Anywhere 




Issue 11 
November 13, 2009 

Inside this Issue : 

Admiral's Call by the Surgeon 
General of the U.S. Navy 
Vice Admiral Adam M. 
Robinson, Jr. 



Mobile Care Team Supports 
Mental Health in Afghanistan 



Corpsmen Providing Humanitarian 4 
Aid in Afghanistan 



NHB Commander Navy Senior 
Pharmacist Of The Year 



Like Body Armor, H1N1 Flu 
Vaccine Aims to Protect Troops 

Leaders Urged to Promote 
Resilience in Troops 



Military Health System to Convene 
Annual Conference in 2010 



Did you Know... 



TRICARE is testing a new video 
counseling service to help military 
members and families see "eye-to-eye" 
with their problems. The TRICARE 
Assistance Program (TRIAP) is 
just one of several ways to get 
convenient, confidential help through 
a licensed behavioral health counselor 
to assist with issues from deployment 
worries, to strained relationships, to 
dealing with a tragedy. For more 
information, go to: 
http ://www.tricare.mil/TRIAP. 



Navy and Marine 
Corps Medical News 

A Public Affairs Publication of the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery 

Service Members, Families Reconnect 
at Returning Warrior Workshop 



By Chief Mass Communication 
Specialist Brian Brannon, Naval 
Surface Forces Public Affairs 

PALM SPRINGS, Calif.- More than 
75 Sailors and Marines, who 
recently demobilized after serving 
in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait, the 
Horn of Africa and other locations 
around the world, reconnected with 
their loved ones Oct. 24-25 at the 
Returning Warrior Workshop in 
Indian Wells, Calif. 

Held at the Renaissance 
Esmeralda Resort, Navy Region 
Southwest hosted the two-day 
event to thank the individual 
augmentees and their families for 
their dedication and sacrifice, to 
discuss the changes that can occur 
during mobilization and to introduce 
participants to a wide range of 
available programs. 



"Your service is deeply valued 
and made a difference. And we are 
deeply grateful to you," Capt. Terry 
Pletkovich, a Navy chaplian 
announced as the workshop began. 
"You'll be hearing that a lot this 
weekend." 

Currently, 5,299 Reservists and 
5,247 active duty Sailors are serv- 
ing as "boots on the ground" in 
support of Operation Enduring Free- 
dom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. 

Retired SEAL Capt. Bob Schoultz 
put such service in context by 
discussing warrior traditions that 
stretch back tens of thousands of 
years. He compared the sacrifices 
currently made both at home and 
abroad to those of Odysseus and 
his family as chronicled in "The 

See WARRIOR, Page 3 




HELMAND PROVENCE, Afghanistan - Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Eric Nobriga, assigned to 
Combined Anti-Armor Team 2 (CAAT 2), hands candy to Afghan children during a patrol in Nawa 
District, Helmand Province, Afghanistan, Oct. 29, 2009. 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment is one 
of the ground combat elements deployed with Regimental Combat Team 7. (U.S Marine Corps 
photo by Lance Cpl. James Purschwitz/ Released) 



Issue 11 
November 13, 2009 



Page 2 



Admiral's Call by the Surgeon General of the U.S. Navy 
Vice Admiral Adam M. Robinson, Jr. 



November Is Warrior Care Month 



November marks the 
Department of Navy's second 
observance of Warrior Care Month. 
Caring for our Wounded Warriors 
is a vital priority and a solemn 
obligation. November is a fitting 
time for this special recognition of 
our heroes. We honor all who have 
served in the Armed Forces on 
Veteran's Day and celebrate the 
birthday of those with whom we 
serve in harms way, the United 
States Marines Corps. We also 
reflect on the blessings we've 
enjoyed over the past year as our 
Nation celebrates this Thanksgiving 
holiday. We honor our Wounded 
Warriors and are blessed to have 
the privilege to care for them and 
their families. 

It is especially appropriate for 
us in Navy Medicine to reflect on 
the contributions of our wounded 
Sailors and Marines. We have the 
privilege of supporting them by 
providing outstanding healthcare 
from injury to recovery, rehabilita- 
tion and reintegration. I know many 
of you are familiar with my 
message regarding service, but I 
believe it's so important that I will 
repeat it: When our Warriors go 
into harms' way, we in Navy 
Medicine go with them. There is a 
trust and fidelity earned over years 



of service and sacrifice together. 
Make no mistake; today that bond 
is stronger than ever. Our mission 
is to care for wounded, ill and 
injured, as well as their family 
members. It is what we do and why 
we exist. It is our duty - it is our 
honor - it is our privilege. 

Caring for others is our profes- 
sion and our passion. It's both our 
vocation and avocation. It is why 
most of us chose military medicine 
and it's why we are driven to 
maintain or restore the health of 
those entrusted to our care. We are 
with our Wounded Warriors through 
out the entire continuum of care 

"Our mission is to care for 
wounded, ill and injured, 
as well as their family 
members. It is what we do 
and why we exist It is our 
duty - it is our honor - it is 
our privilege." 



delivering world-class care, 
anywhere, anytime. 

I just returned from a site visit 
to the CENTCOM AOR to again see 
firsthand the outstanding work 
being done in support of our 



WASHINGTON — 
Vice Adm. Adam 
Robinson on his trip 
to the CENTCOM 
AOR last month. 
(Photo by FORCM 
(FMF) Laura 
Martinez/ Released) 



KANDAHAlilNSinill^^lOySciHNCE 





warfighters. What I saw late last 
month simply reaffirmed what I had 
witnessed during my previous trips: 
You are doing outstanding work and 
are earning high praise from our 
leaders on the ground in 
Afghanistan. Our Wounded Warriors 
are getting the best care we can 
provide under challenging and 
dangerous conditions. From all my 
discussions with our Wounded 
Warriors both in theatre and at our 
facilities here in CONUS, they are 
most grateful. 

We are making significant 
progress in support of Wounded 
Warriors and their families. For all 
of us, however, it's a journey that 
requires our focus, compassion and 
innovation. We are seeing our 
programs mature and our 
collaborative efforts at all levels 
strengthen. We are redoubling our 
efforts in support of mental health 
and working hard to apply the best 
research and implement cutting 
edge technologies in support of our 
injured Sailors and Marines. My 
priority is to build sustainable 
programs designed for the 
long-haul - programs will work for 
our heroes now and in the future. 
We must provide the best services 
that will allow healing in body, mind 
and spirit. I want to highlight 
several initiatives supporting 

(See SURGEON GENERAL, Page 4 ) 



Issue 11 
November 13, 2009 



Page 3 



Navy Mobile Care Team Supports Mental Health in Afghanistan 



By Bureau of Medicine and Surgery 
Public Affairs 

WASHINGTON - Using a unique 
blend of psychological assessment 
and behavioral science, two 
members of the Bureau of Medicine 
and Surgery's deployment health 
department will join the Navy 
Mobile Care Team (MCT) 
deploying to Afghanistan in 
December for three months to 
support the individual Sailor and 
Navy unit leadership. 

"This is the first time Navy 
behavioral health clinicians and 
scientists have joined together to 
form an operational mental health 
care team that operates in-country 
and whose primary 'customers' are 
Navy individual augmentees (IAs)," 
said Lt. Justin Campbell, Bureau of 
Medicine and Surgery, Senior 
Analyst, Deployment Health. 

Capt. Robert Koffman, MC, USN, 
Combat Stress Control Coordinator 
is the Officer-ln-Charge and devel- 
oper of the MCT; Lt. J ustin Camp- 
bell, Ph.D, MSC, USN, is the Opera- 
tions Officer and analyst. 

The MCT will conduct behavior 
health surveys and focus groups 
from multiple Navy units while in 



Afghanistan. The data will be 
analyzed on site at the unit, as 
opposed to the individual level and 
will provide an overall mental 
health snapshot for the unit's 
leadership to help mitigate the 
stressors of a combat deployment. 




WASHINGTON — CAPT Robert Koffman, MC, 
(right) and LT J ustin Campbell, MSC, (left) 
prepare for their upcoming deployment to 
Afghanistan next month as members of the 
Mobile Care Team. (Photo by Valerie 
Kremer, BUMED Public Affairs/ Released). 



The MCT will act as a leadership 
consultation program allowing 
individual Sailors to voice their 
mental health needs and concerns. 

While mental health support 
is intuitive when tragedy strikes a 
unit in the event of a suicide or 



mass casualty, there are other 
mental health challenges Sailors 
face while deployed. 

"The cumulative effects of 
fatigue, being separated from 
family and friends and those things 
a Sailor uses to cope with stress 
back home, combined with the 
often unstated but ever-present 
threat of an attack can, just as 
easily, as a casualty, erode the 
mental health resilience of a Sailor 
and expose underlying 
vulnerabilities that otherwise would 
never have been expressed," 
Campbell added. 

One of the reasons for the 
existence of the MCT is to find 
ways to sustain resilience to 
cumulative stress given the limited 
coping options. 

"When the data are viewed in 
the aggregate, we hope to identify 
policy/process changes that will 
improve conditions for Sailors 
deploying to Afghanistan in the 
future," Campbell said. 

By bringing combat and 
operational stress control to the 
units in theater, the MCT lives up to 
the Navy Medicine ethos of "World 
Class Care, Anytime, Anywhere." 



WARRIOR 

From Page 1 

Iliad" and "The Odyssey," 
composed by Homer in 11th 
century B.C. 

"I challenge you to think of your 
own service as a hero's journey," 
Schoultz said. 

Though weapon systems have 
substantially evolved since the time 
of Odysseus, the code of the war- 
rior still remains - respecting other 
cultures, recognizing basic human 
dignity and serving with integrity. 

"Honorably doing your duty the 
best that you can, that is the 
essence of the code of the warrior," 
Schoultz said. 

Likewise, the hardships such 
service places on those at home 
also remain; when Odysseus went 
to war, his wife Penelope 
managed the home and raised their 
young son. 



"She wasn't on the front, but 
she was taking care of the farm 
back in Troy," Schoultz said. 
"A lot of you know what I 'm 
talking about." 

Resources available at the work- 
shop ranged from counseling and 
chaplain services to representatives 
from Tricare, Military One Source, 
Employer Support of the Guard and 
Reserve and other organizations. 

Capt. Paul Hammer, a Marine 
expeditionary force psychiatrist who 
deployed twice to Iraq, spoke on 
operational stress and the fact that 
it's okay to seek help. 

"The thing I really want to drive 
home with all of you is not to be a 
victim: Take action, talk to some- 
one, seek guidance," said Hammer. 

Rear Adm. Mike Shatynski, vice 
commander of Naval Surface 
Forces, was the key speaker at a 
banquet of honor to recognize the 
veterans and their family members. 



Despite the call for civilian dress at 
the event, Shatynski said he wore 
his uniform to speak for the Navy 
and the nation to thank the Sailors, 
Marines and family members for 
their devotion and dedication. 

"It is the spouses that sacrifice 
the most — you are patriots in a 
quiet, strong way, and you make all 
the difference," said Shatynski. 
"You support us, even though we 
work long hours that often interrupt 
your plans. When we are away, you 
hold our families together. When 
we get tired, you remind us how 
important our jobs are. When we 
receive recognition, you stand in 
the background." 

Returning Warrior Workshops 
are the premiere reintegration 
program among the services and 
are regularly held across the nation 
to welcome service members back 
from mobilization and help them 
reintegrate into life at home. 



I 



Issue 11 
November 13, 2009 



Page 4 



Corpsmen Providing Humanitarian Aid in Afghanistan 



BREMERTON, Wash.- Hospital 
Corpsman Chief Anthony Geron, 
one Individual Augmentee 
assignment from Naval Hospital 
Bremerton with 3d Battalion, 4th 
Marines out of Marine Corps Air 
Ground Combat Center 29 Palms, 
and HM3 (FMF) Matthew Novak, IA 
from Robert E. Bush Naval Hospital 
29 Palms, render emergency life- 
saving trauma care to a severely 
injured young Afghani male in the 
Gulistan district of Farah Province. 

"We saved his life that day," 
said Geron. "He was suffering from 
massive head trauma, hemo- 
pneumothorax, liver contusion, 
kidney contusion, peritoneal bleed 
and the culprits of the hemo- 
pneumo are the 6/7 broken ribs." 

The young man fell from a cliff 
about an hour north of the small 
town of Sa'id and was brought to 
the Navy Corpsmen wrapped 
completely in a blanket, "as if he 
were dead already," Geron noted. 

Novak is from Shanksburg, Pa. 
and before he entered the Navy had 




already experienced massive 
trauma. United Flight 93 crashed on 
his parent's farm on Sept. 11, 2001 
and he witnessed the devastation 



first hand. He is now doing his 
share to support Operation 
Enduring Freedom (Official Navy 
courtesy photo). 



SURGEON GENERAL 

From Page 2 

Wounded Warriors and their families: 
Combat and Operational Stress Control 

Offers a comprehensive approach addressing psychologi- 
cal health issues by identifying and mitigating problem 
stress. The goal is to reduce stigma; increase individual, 
unit and family resilience; reduce stress injures and 
illness; improve mission readiness; and preserve long- 
term health. 

Family Deployment Coping (Project Focus) 
Provides a family-centered resiliency training program to 
enhance psychological health and developmental 
outcomes for children and families dealing with multiple 
deployments. 

Operational Stress Control and Readiness (OSCAR) 
Embeds full-time Navy Medicine mental health profes- 
sions as part of a USMC division down to the infantry 
regiment level. They deploy with their units in theater 
and stay with them when they return to garrison. 
Case Management Program 
Brings Navy Medicine clinical care managers together 



with the Navy Safe Harbor program, the Wounded 
Warrior Regiment, recovery care coordinators, federal 
recovery coordinators and non-clinical care managers to 
ensure continuity of care. 
Returning Warrior Workshop 
Provides weekend workshops designed to support 
reintegration of deployed reservists and their families by 
identifying issues post-deployment and by working on 
solutions as reservists return to their communities. 
Enhanced Access to Care 

Offers several programs to make access to care timely 
and convenient - for example: Seventeen deployment 
health centers, crisis intervention programs, enhanced 
substance abuse therapy, expanded psychological health 
tracking, inpatient physical medicine and rehabilitation 
services, cognitive rehabilitation day program, neuropsy- 
chology services, and pastoral care. 

We must continue to be relentless in our support for 
our Wounded Warriors and their families. We in Navy 
Medicine can reaffirm our commitment directly and daily 
in providing the best in patient and family-centered care 
throughout the world. It is our mission and responsibility. 
I want to thank you for all of your skill, dedication and 
sacrifice in helping to heal our wounded, ill and injured. 



Got News? If you'd like to submit an article or have an idea for one, 
contact MEDNEWS at 202-762-3160, fax 202-762-1705 orValerie.Kremer@med.navy.mil. 



Issue 11 
November 13, 2009 



Page 5 



NHB Commander Navy Senior Pharmacist Of The Year 



By Douglas H. Stutz, Naval Hospital Bremerton 
Public Affairs 

BREMERTON, Wash. (NNS) -- The pharmacy 
department head of Naval Hospital Bremerton (NHB) 
was recognized in Oct. as Navy Senior Pharmacist of 
the Year. 

Cmdr. Ed VonBerg was selected, among other 
things, for his contribution while deployed as an 
individual augmentee (IA) to Camp Herat, Afghanistan 
from J uly 2008 to J uly 2009. 

"There were a lot of good candidates, but Cmdr. 
VonBerg stood out for all the things he did on deploy- 
ment," said Capt. Derrik Clay, Navy Medicine West 
Director of Clinical Support Services (DCSS), who 
worked with VonBerg at NHB for over two years. "He 
went above and beyond what was expected during his 
time in Afghanistan. He also did a lot outside of the 
actual pharmacy community in helping to rebuild the 
health care infrastructure." 

The award came unexpected and was presented at 
this year's Joint Force Pharmacists Conference, an an- 
nual gathering of pharmacy members from service 
branches, U.S. Coast Guard, along with representatives 
from the Veteran's Administration and Public Health, 
Canada and New Zealand. 

"I was surprised and humbled by it," said VonBerg, 
who was assigned to Medical Embedded Training Team 
Herat, Afghanistan. "We have lots of great people do- 
ing great things. The award is really a reflection and 
appreciation of mentoring received from Capt. Stepha- 
nie Simon, our Pharmacy Specialty Leader and Capt. 
Clay." 

"Ed's superior clinical and administrative knowledge 




BREMERTON, Wash. — Cmdr. Ed VonBerg, on Individual Augmentee 
assignment with Medical Embedded Training Team Herat, Afghanistan, 
didn't just relegate his duties to the camp and hospital. He also traveled 
outside the wire to lend support for numerous multi-national Humanitarian 
Assistance missions, Medical Civil Affairs Program missions, and traumas. 
His contributions to mission planning and execution directly led to 
thousands of rural Afghans getting care and supplies, as well as sharing a 
smile with children from the outlying villages and towns they visited 
(courtesy photos) 



in addition to his reliability of seeing all tasks to comple- 
tion make him a worthy recipient of this award," com- 
mented Clay. "While I was DCSS and he was pharmacy 
[department head] (at NHB), I was able to hand any phar- 

See PHARMACIST, Page 6 



Like Body Armor, H1N1 Flu Vaccine Aims to Protect Troops 



By J ohn J . Kruzel, Armed Forces 
Press Service 

Like protective equipment 
issued to troops downrange, the 
H1N1 flu vaccine is a measure the 
Defense Department is taking to 
safeguard U.S. military forces, a 
defense official said Tuesday. 

"We use other treatment 
modalities to protect people in the 
same way we use body armor to 
protect against other threats," said 
Ellen P. Embrey, acting assistant 
defense secretary for health affairs. 

"The H1N1 vaccine was pur- 
chased specifically for our 
uniformed service members so they 
could continue to perform their 
mission anywhere on the globe," 
she continued. "And during a 
pandemic, that's a real threat." 



Officials at the department, 
which received initial allotments of 
the vaccine last week, said doses 
will be distributed in coming weeks 
according to a prioritized list 
of recipients. 

Vaccines first will be made 
available to deployed personnel, 
bases that receive new military 
accessions, such as basic training 
installations and the service 
academies, and all health-care 
workers assigned to military 
medical treatment facilities. 

Immunization for both seasonal 
flu and H1N1 is mandatory for all 
military personnel and is highly 
recommended for beneficiaries. 

"Our system to manufacture 
and distribute, and then put shots 
in arms, is the priority of the 



government. And [the Defense De- 
partment] has been participating 
with HHS very closely to ensure 
that we acquire sufficient vaccine to 
protect the U.S. military's ability to 
perform its mission globally," Em- 
brey said, referring to the Health 
and Human Services Department. 

Embrey noted that the depart- 
ment has long used vaccinations - 
against anthrax, small pox and sea- 
sonal flu, for example - to protect 
the force and preserve its ability to 
perform its mission. 

"The H1N1 virus is unique 
because it targets young, healthy 
people 24 and under and the aver- 
age age of our force is 24," she 

See H1N1, Page 6 



Issue 11 
November 13, 2009 



Page 6 



H1N1 

From Page 5 




Capt. (Dr.) Tanis Batsel Stewart, director of Emergency Preparedness 
and Contingency Support for the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, 
responds to a question during an online town- hall meeting hosted by 
the Military Health System Nov. 10. Health experts from different 
services converged to answer questions submitted to the town- hall via 
a special Web site and alleviate fears over H1N1 flu. (Photo by 
Rebecca Rose, Bureau of Medicine and Surgery/ Released) 



said. "So this is particularly important to us that we 
have the ability to protect the majority of the people 



who are preserving the national security of this country 
because if they're down they can't perform." 

The department also has received several hundred 
vaccines from Health and Human Services for defense 
civilians, Embrey said. Because vaccines may be 
coming in relatively small numbers initially, local 
commanders will be responsible for determining how 
supplies are distributed. 

"It will be up to the local commanders to determine 
the best balance of mission preservation and addressing 
the individuals who are at high risk of getting the flu 
whether they're a civilian in our workforce, and 
according to CDC, we should be paying closest attention 
to those at highest risk," she said, referring to the Cen- 
ters for Disease Control and Prevention. 

"As additional allotments come in over the next sev- 
eral weeks, there will be sufficient vaccines to give to 
anyone who would like to have it," she added. 

Embrey said Health and Human Services allocated 
additional vaccines for retirees, family members and 
other individuals living overseas. 

"So if you live in those locations and you want a shot, 
please come in, or if you're at high risk, please come in 
and get your shots now because those are being distrib- 
uted as we speak," she said. "This vaccine is safe, it's 
effective, it's [Food and Drug Administration] approved. 
If this vaccine is available in your area — get it." 



PHARMACIST 

From page 4 

macy project or requirement to him 
and know that it would be com- 
pleted correctly and in a timely 
manner. I'm sure he exhibited the 
same qualities while deployed to 
Afghanistan. This award goes to the 
most worthy Navy pharmacist 
among a stellar collection of 0-4 
and 0-5 officers, so it is a very 
significant accomplishment." 

VonBerg's primary responsibility 
at Camp Stone, a Forward Operat- 
ing Base (FOB) with a shifting 
population of approximately 500 
personnel from U.S. and NATO 
contributing nations, was as mentor 
to the Director of Clinical Support 
Services and the Head of the 
Pharmacy for the Afghan National 
Army's (ANA) Herat Regional 
Military Hospital and the ANA 207th 
Corps Medical Warehouse 
Commander. 

"I was part of a 13-member 
Navy team and every day I would 
walk over to the ANA Hospital to 
help them improve giving overall 
care to their armed forces person- 
nel as well as work with the 
pharmacy staff, explaining the 



nuances of logis- 
tics and assisting with ancillary ser- 
vices such as the laboratory and 
x-ray areas," remarked Von- 

berg. 

VonBerg notes that the initial 
primary focus of his team was to 
establish personal relationships with 
those they would work with and 
comprehend the Afghan way of life. 

"We needed to know what was 
important to them," said VonBerg. 
"We made it a point to understand 
their culture and their traditions. 
There's such a difference, even in 
getting to the hospital. The only 
way almost all of the hospital staff 
got to work was via bus. Or on foot. 
It was dangerous for them due to 
Improvised Explosive Devices on 
the main access road." 

According to the write-up for 
VonBerg's nomination, he spear- 
headed the proposal, requirements 
and approval of a new logistics and 
pharmacy computer program to be 
used throughout the Afghan 
National Security Forces (ANSF) 
Health System, which ensured a 
consistent flow of safe medication 
valued at over $40 million for 
500,000 beneficiaries. He was also 
the driving force behind the update 



of the ANSF Formulary. 

One of VonBerg's goals was 
teaching a basic understanding 
of supply and tracking usage to 
build orders and work with patient 
staff so that ultimately future 
patients can be handled with past 
experience. 

As a mentor embedded in the 
Herat Regional Military Hospital and 
the 207th Corps Medical 
Warehouse, VonBerg provided the 
tools and training for their first-ever 
computerized inventory tracking 
system and for medical logistics 
airlifts. He also coordinated the 
purchase of limb-saving orthopedic 
surgery equipment and advanced 
ultrasound equipment enabling 
immediate life-saving surgical 
interventions. 

"Pharmacy is more than just 
dispensing medicines," VonBerg 
commented. "It's not lick, stick and 
pour. We faced problems to iron out 
medicine requirements and medical 
equipment needs so they will have 
what they need when they need it. 
Being able to forecast and look to 
the future for supplies is still a very 
foreign concept for most Afghanis. 
The country has been in a constant 
state of war for 30 years, and that 



Issue 11 
November 13, 2009 



Page 7 



Leaders Urged to Promote Resilience in Troops 



By J im Garamone 

American Forces Press Service 

NORFOLK, Va. - Resilience is not 
issued when you join the service, 
but it can and must be built to 
prevent post-war mental health 
problems, a Navy official told 
attendees at the Warrior Resilience 
Conference earlier this month. 

Navy Rear Adm. Karen Flaherty, 
director of the Navy's Nurse Corps 
and deputy chief of the Bureau of 
Medicine's wounded, ill and injured 
section, urged more than 400 peo- 
ple who gathered here to learn the 
best practices in the mental health 
care of soldiers and veterans. 

The conference is subtitled "Full 
Operational Capability," and it has 
two connotations. The first is that 
warriors affected by post-traumatic 
stress disorder, traumatic brain 
injuries or other combat- related 
psychological ailments receive the 
care they need and deserve to 
return to full capability. 

The other is a challenge for 
commanders, supervisors, clinicians 
and care givers to ensure the 
processes and policies are in place 
to give those affected the best care. 
"In the Navy, we want to make sure 
the seabag is full of things that 
make a difference as we move 
forward," Flaherty said. 

Resilience is the human capacity 
to prepare for, recover from and 
adjust to life in the face of stress, 
adversity or trauma, she said, and 
can be gained, lost and taught. 

Resilience is a result of biology, 
the environment and the choices 
people make, Flaherty said. "It is 
important for us to understand how 
individuals, families and units can 
build resilience and can be better 
prepared to adapt and even thrive 
in stressful environments," she 
said. 

Mental health professionals need 
to understand what contributes to 
personal resilience, Flaherty said, 
listing critical attributes as critical 
thinking, communication and 
problem-solving skills, a positive 
outlook, an ability to embrace 
change and a sense of humor. 



"Trusting and supportive 
relationships also play a role in 
resilience," she said. "The ability to 
investigate solutions without 
getting worked up and the ability to 
manage strong feelings and 
impulses also contribute." 

In the military, units also must 
be resilient, Flaherty said, and that 
happens with high morale, unit 
cohesion, pride in the unit's mission 
and pride in leaders. Units that face 
adversity can even strengthen their 
resilience, she said, as they become 
more agile and can adapt easier. 

Individuals can increase 
resilience through common-sense 
strategies such as getting enough 
sleep, eating correctly and 
exercising, she said. It also helps 
for commanders to use after-action 
reports and critiques to encourage 
troops to talk about their 
experiences, she added. 

Leaders must understand that 
they are as responsible for the good 
mental health of their servicemem- 
bers as they are of the physical 
health of their troops, Flaherty said. 

"Tough, realistic training 
develops physical and mental 
strength and endurance," she said. 
"It enhances each servicemember's 
confidence in their abilities and 
their ability to cope with the 
familiar and unfamiliar." 

Medical, ministry and other 
support groups are critical to 
building resilience. "It is about the 
team," she said. 

But it is the line leaders - the 
unit commanders and noncommis- 
sioned officers - who have the larg- 
est responsibility, Flaherty said. 
"They balance the operational 
requirement to expose those 
servicemembers to risk against the 
imperative to preserve their health 
and readiness," she said. 

Leaders have to be aware of the 
strains that servicemembers and 
their families are under. Since Sept. 
11, 2001, the department has 
invested billions of dollars in trying 
to help families, Flaherty said. 

"Our military families, when 
compared to families at large, are 



quite resilient, but also quite 
vulnerable," she said. "The 
frequency and length of deploy- 
ments can create extraordinary 
pressure for many." 

Developing resilience is not a 
science, and it will take years to 
determine what works best. "But 
we need to move now," she said. 
"We'll know more in five years, but 
we know more today than we did a 
year ago, so we act upon what we 
know and move forward. 

"We can't wait for the perfect 
solution," she continued, "because 
the war will continue, the warriors 
will continue to be wounded, and 
we'll still have gaps in care." 

Related Sites: 
Defense Centers for Excellence for 
Psychological Health and Traumatic 
Brain Injury <http:// 
www.dcoe.health.mil/> 




MANATUTO, Timor- Leste - Navy doctor Lt. 
Stephen Zanoni shares a smile with a young 
Timorese patient during a Marine Exercise 
2009 medical civic action project, Oct. 19, 
2009. Zanoni is assigned to the 11th Marine 
Expeditionary Unit (11th MEU) deployed with 
the Bonhomme Richard Amphibious Ready 
Group in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsi- 
bility. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Scott 
Biscuiti/ Released) 



Issue 11 
November 13, 2009 



Page 8 



BALURAN, Indonesia - Navy Lt. 
Yesenia Astorga, assigned to 
the 11th Marine Expeditionary 
Unit (11th MEU) as a general 
medical officer, checks the 
heartbeat of a young patient at 
a clinic, Oct. 19, 2009. Marines 
and Sailors of the 11th MEU are 
in Indonesia for an exercise 
focused on medical and dental 
assistance, engineering 
projects and military 
interaction. (U. S. Marine 
Corps photo by Cpl. Shawn M. 
Spitler/Released) 




Military Health System to Convene Annual Conference in 2010 



By Charlene Reynolds, Office of the 
Assistant Secretary of Defense, 
Health Affairs 

FALLS CHURCH, Va. - The 2010 
Military Health System Conference 
will be held J anuary 25-28, 2010 at 
the Gaylord National Hotel and 
Convention Center in National 
Harbor, Maryland. The theme of the 
conference is "Sharing Knowledge: 
Achieving Breakthrough Perform- 
ance." Each day will feature its own 
educational theme, centering on 
achievements and performance in 
health-care delivery, research, 
education and training. 

"The 2010 MHS Conference is a 




NAVY MEDICINE 

World Class Care , . .Anytime, Anywhere 



i 



Bureau of Medicine and Surgery 

2300 E Street NW 
Washington, DC 20372-5300 

Public Affairs Office 

Phone: 202-762-3160 

Fax: 202-762-1705 



chance for us to embrace the 
challenge of evolving as a learning 
organization," said Ellen P. Embrey, 
performing the duties of the 
assistant secretary of defense for 
health affairs. "We are constantly 
seeking to enhance our health care 
delivery. The conference provides a 
platform to share knowledge and 
improve best practices. Our health 
care, medical research, and medical 
education and training positively 
impact the daily lives of millions of 
service members, veterans and 
their families." 

Three-thousand military and 
civilian medical personnel from the 
MHS are expected to attend, 
creating an opportunity to share 
knowledge and improve best 
practices. As a learning organiza- 
tion, the MHS expects its 2010 
conference to promote professional- 
ism across the force, enhance 
partnerships within and outside the 
federal sector, and focus on ways to 
best serve the preventive and 
health-care needs of our diverse 
beneficiary population. 

The conference will include both 
internal and external/industry 
exhibitors whose missions have a 



focus that is aligned with the MHS 
mission. Registration information 
and exhibitor opportunities are 
available online at www.health.mil/ 
mhsconference . The Web site also 
allows interested parties to sign up 
for e-mail alerts about MHS 
Conference news and updates. 

Further conference details can 
be found on the Military Health 
System Web site at 
www.health.mil/mhsconference . 
Connect with the MHS through its 
Social Media Hub at 
www.health.mil/connect . 

America's Military Health 
System is a unique partnership of 
medical educators, medical 
researchers, and health care 
providers and their support 
personnel worldwide. This DoD 
enterprise consists of the Office 
of the Assistant Secretary of 
Defense for Health Affairs; the 
medical departments of the Army, 
Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, 
Coast Guard, and J oint Chiefs of 
Staff; the Combatant Command 
surgeons; and TRI CARE 
providers (including private sector 
health care providers, hospitals 
and pharmacies).